School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


13 Jan 2022

Bone-building cells favour different orthopaedic implant designs and this can be exploited to create devices that promote faster healing, new study finds

graphic of hip bones
front cover of Women in Engineering Materials journal

New orthopaedic implant devices that promote faster healing and ultimately reduce the strain on the NHS could be available in the future thanks to new research by Loughborough University engineering experts that reveals which structures best promote bone healing.

The study, led by Dr Carmen Torres-Sanchez, a Reader in Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing, tested implant designs currently in use and compared them to novel designs to better understand the structures bone-building cells favour.

Dr Torres-Sanchez and her team of researchers found that the cells are sensitive to ‘topology’ – the way in which structures are arranged in a design – and this can be exploited to help tissue heal faster.

The new paper, published in the Advanced Engineering Materials Journal, even shows that the researchers were able to accelerate bone healing by making design tweaks.

Dr Torres-Sanchez hopes the study findings will “see clinical application in the very near future to help trauma and bone cancer patients”.

The paper has also been included in a special series titled ‘Women in Engineering Materials’, praising its practical significance.

Athena Swan Bronze award

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